Farmers and veterinarians are progressing in their fight against one of the most harmful diseases affecting swine, according to a panel of three veterinarians.
The panel indicated during a press conference at the 2010 World Pork Expo that farms are increasingly able to control porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, commonly known as PRRS.
Dr. Scott Dee, one of the panelists and a professor and PRRS researcher at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, said in a later interview with JAVMA that researchers have, in the past three years, made substantial progress toward fighting the PRRS virus. He has been among researchers working to identify direct and indirect routes of transmission. Since 2006, research teams at his university and associated with Dr. Jeffrey J. Zimmerman at Iowa State University have made a large step forward by showing that airborne spread of the virus occurs.
The teams have also researched how far the virus can spread through the air, the climatic conditions needed for transmission, and the infectious dose needed to cause illness.
Dr. Dee said control programs on farms have improved given our better understanding about proper vaccination timing and implementation. Now that researchers have determined how to eliminate PRRS from individual farms, he said, pig health experts are working to better understand how to prevent outbreaks from outside sources.
Drs. John Waddell, Sutton, Neb., and Jean Paul Cano, a professional services veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, were also panelists.